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10 Photos That Will Convince You Hocking Hills Is Straight out of The Lord of the Rings

The greens, reds, and blues are unreal at this state park. Take a look at some of these photos, and you'll be inspired to take a trip there ASAP!

By: Katie Y + Save to a List

Forbes listed the 2,356-acre Hocking Hills State Park in southeast Ohio's Hocking County as the best of the best places to travel in 2023. Once you've been to this state park, you'll understand why. With 156 campsites with electricity and 13 without, 40 deluxe cabins, three rental camper cabins with fewer amenities, nine hiking trails, two mountain bike trails, a dining lodge, and five picnic areas, there is something for everyone. Visiting this park is FREE! Weekend plans should be filled now :)

Once you drive through the flat farmlands, the winding roads will lead you to hills and hollows. Those curvy scenic highways weave through forests along caves and cliffs of blackhand sandstone in the Allegheny Plateau. This state park includes six separate beautiful spots that draw about 3.5 million visitors a year. You'll find lodges, cabins, and campgrounds. For activities, hike to the incredible waterfalls, fish at the watering holes, or for the adventurous you can zip-line through the treetops and climb a canyon wall and rappel down rock faces at this amazing state park. 

Hiking trails through Ohio's most-visited state park range from a wheelchair-accessible quarter mile into Ash Cave, the largest recess cave east of the Mississippi, to 6 miles of the Buckeye Trail, which loops nearly 1,444 miles around the entire state. This park hosts some incredible views that could compare to LOTR and Avatar. Take a look and you be the judge.


Photo by: Katie Yarborough

Old Man's Cave is the most popular, judging from a jammed parking lot, and is a mile long hike. Old Man's Cave is named for Richard Rowe, a recluse who camped inside its band-shell shape in the 1800s. The path crosses stone bridges and passes the Sphinx rock formation and into Devil's Bathtub, shown below.

Photo by: Katie Yarborough

You'll pass Devil's Bathtub on the way to Old Man's Cave before crossing the bridge. It's a gorgeous formation of water and rock that has overtime created a bath tub of sort that swirls in an intricate rush. 

Photo by: Katie Yarborough

The Rock House is famous for this unique window into the world shown in my photo above.

According to local folklore, this location was used as a shelter for robbers, bootleggers and horse thieves. Through a winding forested trail that leads to the only truly cave-like feature in the park.

The park describes this place as having a hotel in the early 1900s and was once located near the shelter house at the entrance of Rock House. A 1/4 mile trail leads to an opening in a cliff face with gothic-like windows and awesome views. Look for small recesses in the back wall that were used as baking ovens for Native Americans staying in the cave. Troughs in the floor were believed to be used to catch water

With levels of rock formations that allow you to climb up and down, in and out, the kids love this area. Be careful, as these cliffs are extremely high and can be slippery with loose rock.

Photo by: Katie Yarborough

You'll love the waterfalls seen while hiking that are usually seen in spring and fall after rainfalls. These forests host an abundant amount of creeks and water flow that show how the crevices have been formed over time.

Photo by: Katie Yarborough

One of the coolest bridges I've ever seen in a state park was here. It reminded me of something out of Star Trek. Unique and quaint. Hard not to fall in love!

Photo by: Katie Yarborough

Try out the side hikes you can do. This one shown below lead to the fire tower that lets you climb up and view miles and miles of forest tree tops. Go during the fall foliage, and you'll feel like you are witnessing one of Bob Ross's paintings.

Photo by: Katie Yarborough

Cedar Falls, shown below, hosts a gorgeous waterfall that is the largest in the park! Be sure to go early, this spot is quite popular. Queer Creek tumbles over the face of the Blackhand sandstone displaying the awesome force of water power. When hiking to this waterfall, you will see an informative sign that tells you a little history of this waterfall. In the mid 1800's, a grist mill was built above the falls to utilize this water power for grinding grain. Cedar Falls was in-fact misnamed by early white settlers who mistook the stately hemlocks for Cedars. 

A picnic area and restrooms are located in the parking area above the falls.

Photo by: Katie Yarborough

A unique rock formation of the face in the stone will stop you and have you wondering how over time this could happen. The face of the Old Man as I like to call him.

Photo by: Katie Yarborough

Located just next to the state park is this beautiful waterfall, called Corkscrew Falls. It is one for the books and should not be missed, when you visit. Take a road trip and hike to a real place that reminds me of what all those fairy tale places are written and dreamed about.

Photo by: Katie Yarborough

Cover photo by: Katie Yarborough

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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